Overall, I believe I met most of my originally stated aims; I created a short crime/thriller film that uses colour to illustrate the emotions and personalities of the characters in it.
I chose Nicolas Winding Refn and Bryan Elsley as my practitioners. Refn directed the film ‘The Neon Demon’ which is a big inspiration behind the use of colour in my film; He uses harsh neon lights that depicts a story all on its own, adding a whole new dimension to his characters. Influenced by this, I used red light to represent the character ‘Hannah,’ who is evil and controlling and forces the character ‘Emily’ to kill. Emily, on the other hand, is initially represented by the colour blue. Blue can represent, sadness and loneliness, which is just how Emily feels after committing homicide; She is isolated with her overbearing conscience. But as Emily’s guilt takes over, she is swamped with a new feeling: Anger. This anger comes through as she is suddenly shown in red light as she kills Hannah (revenge for making her kill someone innocent). This colour change also shows Emily’s insanity which came on as result of the things she has done. I believe the way I used colour, relates back to the way Refn used colour in The Neon Demon; In a scene where the main character is on a catwalk, she is first only shown in blue light, her expression one of confusion, a childlike innocence still surrounds her. Then, the screen goes black and the mood changes dramatically; She is now only shown in red light, her demeanour now less childlike, her personality changed. I feel I use lighting in my short film to create a similar change within a character, taking a less literal approach which I believe is more effective.
As for the work of my chosen practitioner Bryan Elsley, I don’t believe, in the end, that his work on ‘Skins’ really influenced my final film. Although ‘Un Human’ does contain dramatic situations which you can definitely find in Skins, the style of my film and the style of the TV series don’t really connect at all. However, Skins contains a lot of complex characters with hard backgrounds which I think relates well to the characters in my film and definitely influenced the way I created the characters, especially Emily.
In the end, I did have to make some changes. Firstly, I decided that using a gun for the character Emily to kill Mia didn’t make much sense; how would two teenagers have access to a gun? How would they know how to use it? So, I decided to use a knife instead. I believe using a knife was more effective anyway because it gives you more of a shock when watching the scene. It also gave me more creative leeway as I did a shot where Emily turns the knife in her hand so you can see the blood dripping off of it, just for a millisecond. I think this was very effective as it makes the audience ‘squirm’ and believe that she actually did just kill someone.
Unfortunately, I had to change actresses halfway through the project. After filming the first half of the film with one girl, she was no longer available to continue helping me, so I had to figure out a new way to further the storyline. In the end, another friend helped me out by wearing a wig that was similar to the other girl’s hair. Although it was’t the most ideal situation, I think it worked out okay even if the shots with the ‘second Hannah’ don’t fit in seamlessly. However, I didn’t get to film as much as I had wanted to; The second day of filming the actors playing Emily and Mia turned up, but the initial act playing Hannah didn’t. This hurt my production plan greatly as I was on actor short and couldn’t film a lot of the shots I had wanted to. So I had to re-schedule to three days before the deadline to try and pull something together and what I did pull together I am proud of, but I wold have liked it to be longer, with a couple more scenes.
As for my target audience, I believe the final product does appeal to them because it represents emotions that some may have, however, they are taken to the extreme which might attract viewers as it shows something thats more dramatic to everyday life.
Overall, I think I improved on my directing skills, cinematography skills and editing skills. I became much more confident with directing when producing this short film. I was able to get the shots I wanted more easily because I was less timid, making sure I had full control over what was going on on set. Un Human also helped me to experiment more with cinematography, focusing a lot on lighting. I learnt a lot about shot angles and what looks good and what doesn’t, knowledge that will help me in future projects. As for editing, this final step to the making of my short film was what really brought it together. After being uncertain of how the film was going to turn out after I was left one actress short, I was reassured when it came to the final editing process. I was able to use final cut pro to make something more creative than initially intended, but its what saved my project from being something that I wasn’t proud of. As well as this, I became a lot more confident in using the editing software and can find my way around the programme more easily.
As for the next project that I do, the main thing that I will make sure of is that all of my actors know if there will be multiple days where shooting will take place and that I will need them for the entire project. This is very important for any future films that I make because I don’t want to be in that same situation again; it was very stressful and hindered the rate of production. Another thing that I would do next time is make sure that I have a definite plan for the direction my storyline will take. Although I do like a certain amount of spontaneity, too much can leave you lost and unsure of what to do next, therefore I would want to make more of a concrete plan before going into a shoot.
If I had an unlimited budget to make this short film I would use it for better lighting and a better location. Quite a few of the shots in Un Human are grainy and unclear and although, to some extent it adds to dark story, at some points its too much. Maybe with some better lighting, that would change and would have produced a better final product. Regarding the location, I would rather have used a different house other than my own; The house I used for the film is clean-cut and bare, but what I had imagined for the location had character and peeling wallpaper. So, if I had a larger budget, I would have hired out a building that fit the requirements that I had originally set out to achieve.
Overall, I am happy that I completed my film and I am proud of the outcome even if it isn’t want I initially had in mind; I managed to put something together last minute that still portrays the extreme events and emotions that I wanted to put across. My only hope is that the audience will ‘get it,’ but with some feedback I have already received, I am sure that they did.
In the end, the most important thing to me was that I made something that I was proud of and I am pleased to say that I did.
Research for the original idea:
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